The Mash Up - Issue 2

For the Love of Peaberry

One of our favourite beans at Beat Headquarters is the Brazil Sao Silvestre Peaberry, sourced through the good folk at Minas Hill.

Below are some deets:

Country: Brazil
Region: High Cerrado, Minas Gerais
Process: Natural Varietal: Red & Yellow Catuai
Altitude: 1,100 masl
Owner: Ismael Andrade
Tasting notes: Creamy body, Hazelnut, Sweet

A coffee peaberry is different from a normal coffee bean. Instead of two separate beans (or more accurately, seeds) growing inside a single coffee cherry, there is only one. The peaberry bean therefore develops in a more round spherical shape than two seed beans, and can look more like the shape of a pea. Around “the traps” it has been heard that roasting peaberry coffees are a little more difficult than other beans - we don’t have an opinion (or think there is an easy answer) on the ease or difficulty of roasting this bean. We just love doing it! And bonus is that it tastes great either as a milk based or long black which is all that really matters, right?


Have you ever seen a coffee with a rating given to it? Like wine, coffee is graded on its quality, dependant on many different factors. How is this determined you ask? Well the answer is through cupping of the coffee.

Making a long story short (although Leigh is happy to give you the long answer if you drop into the shop and ask!) cupping is the standardised approach of making, tasting and grading coffees. Using the same amount of ground coffee and hot water consistently and letting it brew for the same amount of time allows us to determine the quality of the coffee. This protocol has been put together by the SCA (Specialty Coffee Association).

Getting the right ratio of coffee to water is important, which is 8.25g coffee to 150g water. When the water is poured onto the coffee you should ensure it agitates and wets all of the grounds. Leave the coffee to brew for 3-5 minutes undisturbed, then the tester “breaks the crust” and cleans the grounds off the top surface to make it ready for tasting. Leave the coffee to cool for about 8-10 minutes before beginning to taste.

The following must be assessed by the tester to accurately evaluate the coffee:

  • Fragrance: smell of the ground dry coffee
  • Aroma: smell of the brewed coffee after breaking the crust
  • Flavour
  • Aftertaste
  • Acidity
  • Body
  • Balance: how flavour, aftertaste, acidity and body work together
  • Sweetness
  • Uniformity: if tasting several cups of the same coffee sample
  • Cleanliness

Using a score system for each of the above categories, a total score is then put together. If you want to geek out and learn more about the actual scoring for each of the above categories, ask Leigh.

And there you have it, clear as mud. Or at least, clear as coffee!

The Endless Search

In 1985 a young Leigh convinced his mother to purchase a dual cassette tape that changed his life. Having been restricted to 80’s AM radio stations and his parent’s music (Mrs Mills and Hot Chocolate anyone?) up until this point he thought music was for the most part, pretty damn unexciting.

There were splashes of what he thought were greatness, some of which were: My Sharona (The Knack) with great big beats, Computer Games (Mii-Sex) with sensational early style synthesizer and Tubthumping (Chumbawamba). Jokes, that last one was a test to see if you were paying attention!

Anyway, what was this cassette pack I hear you ask? It came with an instructional dance sheet inside, to learn how to do things like “the Flameworm” and other neverseen-before dance moves on big pieces of cardboard. It was called “Rap Attack” and I am not even sure it had the original artists on it.

There were some great nowclassical hip-hop hits but the fact that it was an entirely new genre was what was exciting. The music was different, interesting and inspiring.

Did I then go out and form my own b-boy crew?

I think we all know the answer to that one….